Garo Hills has always been known for its extremely poor pass percentages – be it the SSLC or HSSLC examinations – and many have scratched their heads in trying to pinpoint the reason behind this. One of the principal ones appears to be the poor learning infrastructure at the lower primary level.
Embodying the struggle that is faced by children and teachers are two schools, one in the Dadenggre sub-division and another in Gare Nengkon in South Garo Hills.
Both schools, which are state schools, have missing roofs with windows and doors being a thing of the past. While this should not really have made headlines, the fact that these schools have been in this state for years shows the apathy that the Education Department has towards primary education, especially in rural areas.
Sadly, these two schools are not isolated cases. In fact, these types of schools are the norm rather than the exception.
A few weeks ago, another government lower primary school in the village of Rencha Apal, also in Dadenggre sub-division, was rebuilt by villagers whose plea to officials to repair the school fell on deaf ears. As their children had to suffer through winter, summer and the monsoons, the villagers took it upon themselves to ensure their children at least had a roof over their heads.
“There are so many such instances that we have seen through the years that just defy imagination. How can we expect the best from our children when they are forced to receive education in such circumstances? These kinds of cases, when highlighted, need to be tackled on a war footing. After all education is a war for knowledge,” said social activist Maxbirth G. Momin.
Momin feels that no one should expect the region to perform better in competitive education if basic infrastructure is left to an underperforming Education Department.
“There are so many complaints of absolutely no visits from employees of the Education Department to schools. How will they know if what is being taught is good enough or if the children have the optimum conditions for a better education? This attitude has to change,” he asserted.
While the present may indicate a very bleak future, if government sources are to be believed the situation will change for the better soon, though no timeline has been put forward for now.